Calgary, Alberta, Canada – June 18, 2022 – Thirty-six riders qualified throughout the week for the $400,700 RBC Grand Prix of Canada CSI 5*, presented by Rolex. Any rider with hopes of victory had to pilot their horses over the 540 metre course designed by FEI Course Designer Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) and leave all the fences up in a time under that allowed of 81 seconds. It was a challenging track, but six riders representing six nations rode clear rounds and made it into the jump off.
Matthew Sampson (GBR) grew up watching Spruce Meadows on TV with the dream of competing and winning a big FEI 5* event in the International Ring – Saturday was that day. Sampson and Fabrice DN, a 12-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood gelding (Gelhas VDL Emilion x Baloubet du Rouet) laid down a quick, clear ride in the jump off with a time of 38.93 seconds.
Even the fifth-ranked rider in the world – Conor Swail (IRL) and Count Me In (Count Grannus x Sherlock Holmes) could not catch him as they matched their double clear, posting a time of 39.14 seconds to settle for second.
Erynn Ballard (CAN) and Gakhir (Spartacus TN x Labor’s VDL Indorado) completed the podium with no penalties and a final time of 42.04 seconds.
Winner’s Circle – Matthew Sampson (GBR)
“It’s my first 5* Grand Prix win and for it to be at Spruce Meadows – it’s a dream come true.” Matthew Sampson (GBR) on winning at Spruce Meadows. “I grew up watching the greats (Michael Whitaker, John Whitaker and Nick Skelton) compete here, it’s what I worked for.”
Final Results – $400,700 RBC Grand Prix of Canada CSI 5*
1) Matthew Sampson (GBR) & Fabrice DN – 0 / 0 – 38.93
2) Conor Swail (IRL) & Count Me In – 0 / 0 – 39.14
3) Erynn Ballard (CAN) & Gakhir – 0 / 0 – 42.04
Source: Press Release (edited) from Spruce Meadows Media
Photo: © Spruce Meadows Media / Mike Sturk